The Christian's Pleasure At Being Invited to God's House
Psalm 122:1-9
I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.…

Probably this psalm was composed for the use of the Israelites when journeying up to worship at Jerusalem on the great annual solemnities. We stand in one of the valleys of the Promised Land, whilst it yet flowed with milk and honey, and the children of Abraham had not been exiled for their sins. We see a company approaching: they are a band of one of the distant tribes, and they are hastening to be at Jerusalem on one of the grand anniversaries. As they advance, we catch the sound of their voices: they are beguiling with psalmody the tedious pilgrimage. We listen attentively, and at length we can distinguish the words, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." Louder and louder grows the melody: the thought of the glories of the city, in which Jehovah specially dwelt, cheers the weary travellers; and the surrounding mountains echo the beautiful invocation, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces."

1. Now, it is not required of us to undertake any wearisome journeys: we are not called to incite one or the other by holy melodies to the leaving of our homes, that we may seek the Lord at some distant shrine. But, nevertheless, we are still bound to the duty of public worship; the privilege is left us, though graciously freed from inconvenience; and it may be as necessary as ever, seeing that the removal of difficulties is not unlikely to produce indolence, that men should exhort one another with the words, "Let us go into the house of the Lord." We know, of course, that there is a sense in which the Almighty "dwelleth not in temples made with hands"; "heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him;" how much less the houses which His creatures build l But, nevertheless, just as He may be said to dwell especially in heaven, though, in virtue of His omnipresence, He is equally everywhere, because in heaven He manifests Himself with greater brightness than in any other scene; so may He be said to dwell specially in our churches, if He there give extraordinary tokens of that presence which must indeed be the same in all departments of creation. And when a true servant of God goes up to the sanctuary, it is in the humble but earnest hope of gaining greater knowledge of doctrines which concern his salvation, of gathering fresh stores of that manna which "cometh down from heaven," and of drinking a fresh draught of "the water of life." Neither is it only on account of the advantages derivable from the preaching of the Word that the sincere Christian is earnest in attending the sanctuary. There is a charm and a power to him in public worship, in the being associated with a multitude of his fellow-men in acts of prayer and praise, which would draw him to God's house. It is an inspiriting and elevating thing when numbers loin, with one heart and voice, to ask Divine protection, and celebrate Divine love. There is more of the imagery of heaven in such an exhibition than in any other to be seen on this earth. But we must not omit, in our survey of reasons, why a Christian is glad, when invited to the house of the Lord, that in this house are administered the Sacraments, those mysterious and most profitable rites of our holy religion.

2. We have hitherto enlarged on the motives to joy which are furnished by the ordinances of religion: we will now examine whether there be not also motives in the finding that others associate themselves with us in those ordinances, yea, incite us to their most diligent use? And what more evident than that, if it be a joyful thing to the Christian to go up to God's house, it must be yet more joyful to go up with a throng? Anxious himself to obtain spiritual strength, it will delight him to mark the like anxiety in others. For there is nothing selfish in genuine religion: on the contrary, it enlarges and throws open the heart, so that the safety of others is eared for in proportion that one's own seems secured.

3. It is one of the predictions of Isaiah in reference to those days when the dispersed Jews are to be restored, and Jerusalem made "a praise in the earth," that "many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountains of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob." Who would not be glad to have it said unto him, "Let us go into the house of the Lord," when the saying implied that God had at length fulfilled His mightiest promises, that His banished ones were gathered home, and that there had broken on this creation days for which kings and righteous men had longed, days when "out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem," till earth, in its remotest tribes, yield homage to the Christ? We may not live to hear the summons thus applied; but we may show our desire for the glorious triumphs which Christianity has yet to achieve, by the earnestness of our endeavours to promote its diffusion.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: {A Song of degrees of David.} I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

WEB: I was glad when they said to me, "Let's go to Yahweh's house!"

Joy in God's Service
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